Protestors against quarantine orders, Lansing, Michigan, April 15. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A group of states across the Midwest is the latest to announce a joint regional plan to reopen businesses in the wake of stay-at-home efforts designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

The big picture: President Trump is expected to tell governors on Thursday that he won't hold them back if they want to restart their state economies, Axios' Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen report.

  • Northeastern states, including those hardest hit by the virus, like New York and New Jersey, announced a regional task force to guide the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Monday.
  • Western states including California, Oregon and Washington teamed up earlier this week on a plan to lift lockdowns as conditions permit.

Details: The governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky say they will focus on four factors to reopen their states: (1) controlling new infections and hospitalizations; (2) virus testing and tracing; (3) gauging whether hospitals can manage another virus surge; and (4) how to handle social distancing at work.

What they're saying: “Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region," the governors said in a statement. "This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”

The bottom line: Leading coronavirus modeling has recently lowered its projection for the number of American deaths from COVID-19, a sign that social distancing is working.

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